The Code Review/Programmers/Stack Overflow hot potato

I don't want to cross-post on all metas, so I chose Code Review.

This is the current hot potato.

So I'm starting to notice that questions are now getting kicked around between sites because each community considers the questions to "not be a good fit" which ends up causing programming questions like this to fall through the cracks.

OP needs a bit of coaching and help thinking through the variables in his question. He poses a false dichotomy, and the correct answer is "it depends, based on these variables." While it's a legitimate question, it goes about ten minutes before it gets closed.

So which of the three communities should be nutting up and accepting this question, or do we need to create a fourth site?

The question clearly states that the author is not seeking a code review. That alone makes the question off-topic for Code Review, as we require the author to be receptive to comments on all aspects of the code.

• I don't think anyone is trying to make the case for it being on-topic. I think it's just a question of does it go farther to answer the question and coach askers of low-quality questions on how to ask better questions, or never letting it in the door? Each has its own tradeoff. – moarboilerplate Jan 14 '15 at 4:14
• In that case, perhaps this question belongs on Programmers Meta, since they had original jurisdiction and first right of refusal. Shall I migrate this Meta question? – 200_success Jan 14 '15 at 4:17
• Now you're REALLY getting meta. – moarboilerplate Jan 14 '15 at 4:20

No, a fourth site wouldn't work for this, and is an entirely different discussion.

It was deemed off-topic on Programmers, so it was migrated here. But it's also off-topic here because it appeared to contain some pseudocode, so the migration was rejected. Now, if SO still deems it off-topic (I don't think it was already posted there), then either this question doesn't belong on either site in its current state, or Programmers should've thought more about its topicality before migrating it.

Here is the "master" post that provides guidance regarding which programming question belongs on which technology-oriented site. It may not be helpful enough in all cases, but it's still a good start.

• OP's code is working, so I can see it getting rejected on SO for not being problematic, which the link you posted also seems to support. I'm sure each site could legitimately make a case for why it is off-topic for their site, and I might even agree, but at the end of the day, it seems problematic that users are struggling to find a home for a question that three different programming-oriented sites can't provide. – moarboilerplate Jan 14 '15 at 3:25
• @moarboilerplate The problem isn't just "finding a home" for the question. The root of the problem is that it's a poor quality question on any site due to lack of detail. – 200_success Jan 14 '15 at 4:00

Code Review rules exist for a reason, and it's not because we are prejudiced against a certain class of questions. Specifically, we need to have real, working code in the question. Otherwise, we'll be blind men looking at an elephant — each reviewer interprets the pseudocode in their own way. An answer might point out a deficiency or an improvement, and the author could respond with "that's not what I meant". Reviewing such fluid code is a frustrating experience for everyone involved, in our experience.

In the case of this question, we have no idea what an item is, or why it might sometimes be the string "undefined". Did the author mean typeof item == 'undefined'? Why not just test if (item) { … }? Why would the event fire so frequently in the first place? Has the event handler been attached to the "wrong" place? The question is so vague that asking for an A-or-B opinion is meaningless. We need much more detail to give useful advice.

Unfortunately, this question was far-off-topic enough for Code Review that only the author could make it on-topic. Ideally, I would have put the question on hold to let the author revise it. However, the Stack Exchange system is designed such that putting a migrated question on hold also rejects the migration. This behaviour may be unfriendly to the author of the question, but I think that the system is designed this way so that only questions that are truly good for the target site should be considered for migration in the first place.

So, the ideal course of action would have been to leave a comment on the question on Programmers inviting the author to post a good Code Review question, instead of migrating a question that was not reviewable. Which is what I have done:

@Mihai Migration to Code Review was rejected because the question contains hypothetical pseudocode. We would be glad to have the author a similar question on Code Review with a fully working example. – 200_success 1 hour ago

• In a discussion about whether it meets the criteria for being off-topic, I'll agree, it arguably does. However, it was evident to me what OP was asking (admittedly a subjective statement) and I feel I was able to provide an adequate answer to the question. However, the message ultimately sent to OP is "You have a good question, but you didn't ask it in the way we would like it. Come back later when you can do that." From a knowledge base-building perspective, I can understand the benefit of that, but it's extremely disheartening for users to have to endure it. – moarboilerplate Jan 14 '15 at 3:58